By Jake Donovan
The insistence throughout the buildup for the fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez is that changes are being made in both camps in order to produce a conclusive ending.
Of course, the same sales pitch came prior to last year’s encounter. The end result proved to be every bit as close and controversial as their previous two meetings.
Pacquiao escaped with an unpopular majority decision to run his record to 2-0-1 in the series, though it’s no stretch to suggest that he can just as easily be 3-0 or 0-3. Each fight has been that close, hence the reason for Part IV, which takes place on December 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The irony of last year’s disputed outcome was that it was the last notable win for Freddie Roach. The Hall of Fame trainer, who has guided Pacquiao’s career for more than a decade, has been on the losing end of four straight major fights as of late, including a highly controversial split decision loss to Tim Bradley this past June.
Also included in that stretch are consecutive losses for former 140 lb. champ Amir Khan, who has since severed ties with the trainer. Roach’s most recent letdown came in September, when Julio Cesar Chavez came within one punch of erasing an 11-round deficit against Sergio Martinez.
A conclusive win over Marquez will kill two birds with one stone for Pacquiao. As far as the series go, it will finally provide a definitive ending, at which point both fighters can move on with the rest of their careers for however long they choose to continue on.
In regards to Roach’s current slide, a big win by Pacquiao immediately rights the ship.
That said, neither Pacquiao nor his coach feel any added pressure. It’s already their mindset to train to win. Whatever happens beyond that, both are confident that they will have done their job to the best of their ability leading up to fight night.
“I do my job the best I can and get Manny for this fight,” Roach insists. “It has nothing to do with any of the other fighters I train. I thought he won his last fight 11 rounds to one, I don’t consider that a loss at all. It’s just business as usual (in the gym).”
Pacquiao’s response is simply an emphatic “No,” when asked if there is a greater sense of urgency to win one for his trainer. Nor is there any more weight on his shoulders to win conclusively.
“My mind is focused on winning,” Pacquiao states. “If I have a chance inside the ring to make the fight easy (end in knockout), then… I will grab that opportunity.
“I will try to not make this fight close like the last three fights. That is my focus now.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox